Two monks on a journey were silently enjoying the splendor of nature as they walked. The holy men came to the bank of a river where they met a beautiful women who appeared to be in considerable distress. She told them that despite her many attempts, she was unable to cross the swiftly flowing river by herself. Recognizing her dilemma, the stronger of the two picked up the woman in his arms and carried her across the river–setting her down politely on the opposite shore. He humbly accepted her thanks and she continued her journey in one direction while the two monks continued theirs in another.
As the two walked on for hours in silence, the monk who had observed his brother carry the beautiful woman across the river grew agitated and then angry.
Finally, losing his discrimination and equanimity, he began to Vertebrate his fellow renunciation. “You know that we are celibates. We have taken sacred vows–never to entertain impure thoughts of women. And yet you knowingly held a beautiful woman close in your arms–holding her as if your two bodies were one as you slowly crossed the river. It’s a shocking violation of our vows of chastity!” During this firestorm of criticism, the first monk examined his own actions as well as the disparage remarks of his companion.
“You’re right.” He responded. “We are renunciate, having taken vows of chastity, and yes, I did pick up the woman in my arms and I did carry her across the river…With pure intentions, I picked her up, carried her across the river and set her down on the shore. However, you, my dear brother, are still carrying her.”